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Perry: Help received made 'world of difference'

Mark LoMoglio / National Hockey League / Getty

Edmonton Oilers forward Corey Perry believes he's in the proper frame of mind to return to the ice after receiving help in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks terminating his contract.

"Over the last two months, I've really had a chance to reflect, get the help, and take full responsibility for what happened in Chicago, and try to better myself," Perry told media at a press conference Monday, including TSN. "Those are the things I've been working on; I've been working on with people in the mental health field and in different fields.

"It's been a long time to get back to this spot, to be back on that ice with players in the NHL. I have to thank my family, my friends, all the support I've gotten, (and) the support from my counselors. I'm just trying to better myself each and every day. From where I was two months ago to where I am today, it's been a world of difference with the help I've gotten."

Perry hasn't played a game since Nov. 19. The Blackhawks terminated his contract on Nov. 30 following an internal investigation, citing inappropriate conduct.

Details of Chicago's probe remain unclear. Perry declined to answer Monday whether he'll appeal his contract termination.

The Oilers made Perry's contract official Monday, inking the 38-year-old to a prorated agreement for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. Perry reportedly met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earlier in January and was eligible to sign anywhere, as the league didn't bar him from playing.

Oilers general manager Ken Holland admitted he's been pursuing Perry since the Anaheim Ducks bought out the veteran's contract in 2019. Perry went on to play for the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Blackhawks before landing in Edmonton.

"I think he's the type of player that everyone wants on their team," Holland said Monday, according to The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman.

Perry recorded nine points in 16 games with the Blackhawks this season. He has 421 career goals and a wealth of playoff experience across a 19-year career, including 124 points in 196 postseason games.

The Oilers are aiming to get Perry in the lineup for Saturday's clash against the Nashville Predators. Edmonton is riding a 13-game winning streak.

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